Computing on Cloud Nine
Dec 19, 2019
The “Cloud” has become a technological term most people are very familiar with, at least when it comes to individual use like sending e-mails, streaming music, or storing photos.But what exactly is the Cloud? The Cloud is not actually a physical entity, but a remote network of connected servers that store and manage data, run applications, and deliver content. The Cloud can be valuable for so much more than personal use, while also serving as an incredibly powerful tool for companies. These interconnected remote servers allow a company to harness all its data in one place, without the need for local storage or software, thus increasing speed, productivity, performance, security, and reliability. The approach of using the Cloud for the delivery of computing services is aptly called cloud computing, and more and more companies are embracing this relatively new technology for their servers, storage, databases, networking, software, intelligence, and analytics.
There are many reasons why so many organizations are turning to cloud computing for their computing service needs. The first major advantage is its lower cost, since cloud computing bypasses the capital expenses of software and hardware, setting up and running on-site datacenters, and the need for IT experts. Another benefit of cloud computing is its speed and performance. Most cloud computing services are provided on demand, allowing vast amounts of computing resources to be available within minutes. This gives businesses flexibility, removing pressure on capacity planning. Performance also increases with cloud computing, since these services run on a worldwide network of datacenters that are upgraded consistently to ensure the latest and greatest computing capabilities. This global network is highly preferred to a single corporate datacenter, as it can pull resources from all over, as opposed to just one location that may already be overwhelmed. Another benefit of cloud computing is that it is highly reliable and secure. Data backup and disaster recovery are easier and less expensive with cloud computing, since data can be mirrored at multiple locations on the provider’s network. Additionally, most cloud providers offer technologies, policies, and controls that strengthen overall security that protects a company’s data, apps, and infrastructure from potential threats.
Cloud computing provides many noteworthy functions that a company can take advantage of. First and foremost, cloud computing enables an organization to store, backup, and recover massive amounts of data that is then accessible from any location or device. Secondly, once data is unified across teams, divisions, and locations via the Cloud, the organization can use services such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and modeling to uncover insights and make more informed decisions. Additionally, cloud computing enables the building of cloud-native applications that can be quickly created, deployed, and scaled according to the needs of the organization. Organizations can reduce application development costs and time by testing and building applications using cloud infrastructures that can be scaled up or down.
Despite all these wonderful benefits to cloud computing, there are some downsides to this technology. The most notable pitfall is the potential for the organization to lose visibility and control of its network and data when assets and operations are transitioned over to the Cloud. When external cloud services are used, responsibility for some policies and infrastructure moves over to the cloud service provider. Another potential hazard is higher likelihood for unauthorized use of additional cloud services.Since cloud computing makes it much easier to provision resources, it can lead to unauthorized personnel obtaining resources without the consent of IT. This can present an increased risk of malware infection or data exfiltration, since the organization can’t protect itself against resources it does not know about. However, with attentive IT and administrative personnel, as well as intentional monitoring and analysis of its applications, services, data, and users, these possible issues can be avoided.
Although there are minor risks when it comes to loss of oversight, those can be avoided with diligence and intentionality on the part of the organization when it comes to monitoring its resources. Cloud computing allows an organization to connect all its data, applications, users, and content, making it all accessible at any time and place.The benefits of cloud computing are vast and enable organizations that use it to be better connected and at the forefront of technology.